Studios Ratcheting Up Promotions5 Apr, 2007 By: Thomas K. Arnold
As DVD celebrates its 10th birthday, sales have flattened, and the spotlight is on high-definition discs as well as digital downloading.
In what could be a shout of “Hey, we're still here,” DVD marketers are ratcheting up their promotional engines to ensure the format is still front and center in consumer minds.
Buena Vista Worldwide Home Entertainment is linking its Disney Movie Rewards program to the new Walt Disney Pictures release Meet the Robinsons, the division's first-ever such theatrical tie-in.
Members of the loyalty program, which rewards buyers of Disney DVDs, can now earn “points” by mailing in their ticket stubs from the movie. Members collect points generally by buying DVDs and then redeem them for merchandise and digital products. Typical prizes include DVDs, games, books and collectibles.
“We always strive for ways to innovate in the home entertainment industry and add value for the loyal fan base who loves our DVDs,” said Gabrielle Chamberlin, SVP of marketing, North America, for Buena Vista. She said Disney Movie Rewards “drives interest in our [DVD] releases and rewards members with things … that only Disney can bring.”
Not to be outdone, 20th Century Fox Home Entertainment is putting a dinosaur on the road to promote the April 24 DVD release of Night at the Museum. The film's 21-foot-long “Rexy,” sculpted from an actual dinosaur bone structure, heads out on a seven-day, nine-city cross-country tour April 17, beginning at New York's American Natural History Museum and ending on street date at the Natural History Museum of Los Angeles.
Rexy will travel on an open flat-bed truck, chasing a bone pulled by a yellow Hummer, just as in the movie.
Paramount Home Entertainment also has ambitious plans to promote Freedom Writers, bowing on DVD April 17. The division is distributing 22,000 teaching kits to schools across the United States and Canada, in association with Jordan Education Media, to help further the Freedom Writers Foundation's mission of creating opportunities for kids to reach their academic potential. The story of the Foundation's founder, Erin Gruwell, inspired the film; the kits include DVD-based lessons featuring scenes from Freedom Writers.
As part of the kits, students are challenged to write essays on their inspiration to change. Teachers at each participating school will nominate the best entries. Eight winners, one per geographic region, will receive a $1,000 scholarship prize. One grand-prize winner in the United States and another in Canada, selected by Gruwell herself, will receive an additional $5,000.